It may not be the top flight of German football, but after the past few weeks brought us both the Revierderby, the Klassiker and the Rheinderby, North Germany is about to get rocked by the Hamburger Stadtderby as St. Pauli and HSV go head in the 2.Bundesliga. Prepare for fireworks.
Matchday 12 of the 2.Bundesliga season pits current league leaders Hamburger SV against their city rivals in a derby, which in terms of atmosphere and passion is one to rival some of the biggest clashes that grace the Bundesliga. The Kiezkickers (literally neighbourhood kickers) host the Rothosen at their Millerntor stadium looking to upset the form book and maintain their unbeaten recent run at home against their city rivals.
St. Pauli have won their last three games at the Millerntor against Hamburg and have contributed to HSV not making a return to the Bundesliga as both Werder Bremen and Schalke have done.
The rivalry is based on obvious geography being both based in Hamburg, but there is an added ideological twist that adds a lot of extra spice to the fixture. HSV have seen their reputation tarnished in the past by far-right groups attaching themselves to the football club, and it’s something St. Pauli have taken great offence to with their cult following.
This is geography, this is class, politics and ideology all rolled into one.
The season so far
Hamburg are now spending a fifth season in the 2.Bundesliga after being beaten in last season’s plat-off against Hertha Berlin. They currently top the table after eleven matchdays having won eight, lost twice and drawn once. Until last weekend’s draw with Kaiserslautern they were on a five-match winning streak.
Robert Glatzel is their top scorer with seven goals with defender Mario Vuskovic and keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes their top performers so far this season.
St. Pauli are currently 14th in the table with eleven points (two wins, five draws and four losses). They have gone seven matches without a win so a victory against HSV would be all the sweeter in terms of ending that run. Johannes Eggestein has three goals while Scottish/ Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine has been their stand-out player.
What they’re saying
Timo Schultz (St.Pauli trainer): “When I watch my players interact with each other, I feel determination and anticipation. There’s fire in the training sessions and I can tell the lads feel like me: we can’t wait for it to start on Friday.
“I like the way Tim Walter coaches his squad and I like how he has brought them forward. They always take a certain risk with the way they play and we have the ability to hurt them. If we put stress on them and constantly engage them in duels, then we can achieve a lot.”
Tim Walter (Hamburg trainer): “We want the away win at home in Hamburg. Everyone always says they can hurt us. But we can do that too. We’re first and want to show that.
“We know that we have to be consistent in our game, otherwise every opponent has small chances against us. But when we reach our limit, it’s difficult for everyone against us too.
“We don’t have to do anything special or differently before the derby. Everyone is looking forward to this game. We’re approaching it with flaming hearts but cool heads.”